Nano Research

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 815–821 | Cite as

Red/orange dual-emissive carbon dots for pH sensing and cell imaging

  • Miaoran Zhang
  • Rigu Su
  • Jian Zhong
  • Ling Fei
  • Wei Cai
  • Qingwen Guan
  • Weijun Li
  • Neng Li
  • Yusheng Chen
  • Lulu CaiEmail author
  • Quan XuEmail author
Research Article


The dual-emissive N, S co-doped carbon dots (N, S-CDs) with a long emission wavelength were synthesized via solvothermal method. The N, S-CDs possess relatively high photoluminescence (PL) quantum yield (QY) (35.7%) towards near-infrared fluorescent peak up to 648 nm. With the advanced characterization techniques including X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), etc. It is found that the doped N, S elements play an important role in the formation of high QY CDs. The N, S-CDs exist distinct pH-sensitive feature with reversible fluorescence in a good linear relationship with pH values in the range of 1.0–13.0. What is more, N, S-CDs can be used as an ultrasensitive Ag+ probe sensor with the resolution up to 0.4 μM. This finding will expand the application of as prepared N, S-CDs in sensing and environmental fields.


carbon cell imaging dual-emissive photoluminescence pH-sensitive Ag+ probe 


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We thank Beijing Nova Program Interdisciplinary Studies Cooperative Project (No. Z181100006218138), Science Foundation of China University of Petroleum-Beijing (No. 2462018BJC004), National Key Specialty Construction Project of Clinical Pharmacy (No. 30305030698) and Research Funding of Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital (No. 2017LY08) for the support.

Supplementary material

12274_2019_2293_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2.3 mb)
Red/orange dual-emissive carbon dots for pH sensing and cell imaging


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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miaoran Zhang
    • 1
  • Rigu Su
    • 1
  • Jian Zhong
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ling Fei
    • 4
  • Wei Cai
    • 1
  • Qingwen Guan
    • 1
  • Weijun Li
    • 1
  • Neng Li
    • 5
  • Yusheng Chen
    • 6
  • Lulu Cai
    • 2
    Email author
  • Quan Xu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Heavy Oil Processing, Beijing Key Laboratory of Biogas Upgrading UtilizationChina University of Petroleum (Beijing)BeijingChina
  2. 2.Personalized Drug Therapy Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Department of Pharmacy, Sichuan Provincial People’s HospitalUniversity of Electronic Science and Technology of ChinaChengduChina
  3. 3.School of PharmacyNorth Sichuan Medical CollegeNanchongChina
  4. 4.Chemical Engineering DepartmentUniversity of Louisiana at LafayetteLafayetteUSA
  5. 5.State Key Laboratory of Silicate Materials for ArchitecturesWuhan University of TechnologyWuhanChina
  6. 6.Department of ChemistryUniversity of AkronAkronUSA

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